Lords Reform – Draft Bill

Lord Soley

Lord Strathclyde leader of the House, gave a star performance as the Government  spokesman supporting this draft Bill which he clearly thinks is crazy! http://www.dpm.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/house-lords-reform-draft-bill  Lord Strathclyde has never been a supporter of an elected House and it showed on his face if not in his words! Support from his own backbenchers was completely absent and I suspect the Government is not going to get this Bill – or to be more precise the Liberal Democrats are not going to get it.

There are many unanswerd questions and if you are keen to follow this look at the Hansard for Tuesday. An obvious question is that if the second chamber is elected why won’t there be conflict between the two chambers  and why wont it be dominated by political party’s?

If there was a referrendum on this I think it would be lost and yet the House does need reform but this is not the right Bill to deliver it. I am not convinced that an elected second chamber is necessary or desirable. I am slightly more open minded on some elected members from the regions but even that raises issues about the role of the two Houses.

8 comments for “Lords Reform – Draft Bill

  1. Gareth Howell
    18/05/2011 at 8:24 am

    I have just had a look through the summary of the bill, and it is very well drafted.

    I like the 15 year term.(3 General election cycles) 300 members is fine.

    This would mean people like the former Clive Soley Esq. would be unable to hop from one house to the other at the general election, unless he had made
    a very conscious decision to stand for election some time before. And his opponents in an election to the second would be able to pull his record in the first one apart, before he got elected.

    You want to end your commons career with graceful goodbyes? No chance!

    As it is membership of the Second provides paste and cover to the bones of the first,
    a redemption from the responsibilities of the first.

  2. Gareth Howell
    18/05/2011 at 9:21 am

    23. The Government proposes that the link with the peerage would be broken. Membership of
    the second chamber would no longer be dependent on the award of a peerage nor would
    membership confer a right to a peerage. The peerage would revert to being an honour

    Senex’s hand upon this, I think.

    Who is going to decide upon the Option I can not combobulate, and how!

    The monarch’s ceremony will remain exactly the same, but the two office holders will no longer be members of the House of lords.

    How the hereditary peers list for AV will be arranged I don’t know, if it is a 100% elected option. Out of 100 elected at each transition period over 15 years say 1 in every area will be a hereditary peer?

    There is too much to argue about there fr it so stand any chance of success. A sop to the Lib dems,in government with so much to sop up, that it will never get done.

    Plenty of good ideas, most of which we have discussed here, far too many choices. There needs to be a much clearer agenda.

    The option needs to be chosen first; the government should choose it, after discussion and then resubmit.

  3. maude elwes
    18/05/2011 at 9:44 am

    Is it really a surprise if they pass on this one? What Lord is going to vote himself/herself out of a gravy train ride, even though it may be what the country wants and what would be right for the modern world.

    This decision should not be left in the hands of those who cannot see past their nose. What right do they have to hold the country to ransom anyway?

  4. Baroness Murphy
    Baroness Murphy
    18/05/2011 at 1:32 pm

    Sat through the Statement with increasing sense of being down the Rabbit Hole. There are some of us support the idea of a majority elected second chamber but the proposals were totally without any sense about what the Chamber’s function would be and should be and how it would relate to the Commons. It simply isn’t going to get through.

    • Twm O'r Nantl
      18/05/2011 at 2:12 pm

      It won;t get through but then it is only a draft bill.

      Choose your option!

      I can see the bottom of the rabbit hole.

      1st/2nd readings, delegated legislation, secondary legislation. General debate. Some private members’ bills; Anything else?

      Delegated European legislation is big.

  5. Rich
    19/05/2011 at 1:22 am

    One of the assumptions I found fascinating was the one about constituency work. Members of the new chamber are to be paid less and presumably have less available in expenses because they won’t have constituency services to provide. Is that warranted?

    Various posts on this blog and questions in the House of Lords make it clear that even the current members of the House, who have no constituency at all, have a lot of contact with the public. Where does this assumption come from that elected members of the upper house wouldn’t receive questions and requests that MPs do? Australian Senators are elected by STV; do they not have constituency work?

    A related question is whether it is even desirable to try keeping all constituency services for MPs. One of the points made over and over during the debates about reducing the size of the Commons was that constituency demands have grown over the years, and it may be quite difficult for an MP to deal with an increased constituency workload.

    Why not share the work with regional members of the elected Upper House? US senators do constituency work, meaning that a resident of any state can present problems with the national government to her representative in the House or either of her senators. Under the new system, MPs could, formally or informally, share work with members of the Lords for their respective regions, and regional members could take up constituency work when seat in the Commons becomes vacant and following a Dissolution.

    The importance of constituency is something that people outside legislatures do not fully appreciate and which drafters of constitutional legislation tend to overlook when tinkering with the organs of government. I hope someone in Parliament will see what the Cabinet Office and the Deputy Prime Minister did not: a golden opportunity to improve the delivery of constituency services.

  6. ladytizzy
    19/05/2011 at 2:09 am

    I offer the following as an amuse bouche:

    The Deputy Prime Minister:…this was in the Conservative party manifesto —

    “a mainly-elected second chamber to replace the current House of Lords”

    Hansard (Col 162)

    and the bit from the Conservative manifesto Mr Clegg forgot to add:

    We will work to build a consensus for a mainly-elected second chamber to replace the current House of Lords…

  7. MilesJSD
    19/05/2011 at 3:33 am

    If you really are serious about founding a true democracy
    “government of the People, by The People, for The People
    (but this should have the additional rider “and for All-Lifesupports-on-Earth”)”

    or about further improving our already long-established “full democracy” (see Lord Tyler above)

    then you need to give up further-feathering-your-own-already-super-fat-permanent-nests

    and publicly-tackle the Question

    “What is, should be, and shall be,
    the Role(s) of The People ?”.


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